Although the Honda scored the lowest in the test drive, it was never far behind in any category. In fact, one regular test driver said this Honda with its new power steering is the most improved of the bunch of ATVs.

“It was a very comfortable machine to ride,” Jeff Ryan said. “In the past, it had a big tear shape to the gas tank and it was tough on the legs to straddle it. But ergonomically, this model was a vastly superior machine.”

The drivers praised the FourTrax Foreman's power steering. “The power steering on the Honda was really good in the barrels,” Pete Bakken said. “It really flowed.”

The drivers did find some problems with the vehicle. Scott Veenker said he thought the Honda is rough riding and the ground clearance at 7.5 in. is not good.

The manual transmission also seemed to be a drawback in this test. “The Honda was more of a workhorse,” explained Paul Gervais. “It has that Honda durability with manual transmission, which in one way is good and in another, I don't like to shift gears. The ride was good on it; it just lacked a little ground clearance. And my gut feeling is this vehicle may need the least maintenance of all the vehicles. I really liked the power steering.”

The reverse gear gave fits to drivers who were unfamiliar with Honda's shifting patterns. “I don't like the procedure going into reverse,” Abe Hodgen said. “It could be that I've not been around a Honda. But everyone else here is standardized on a side gearshift lever and Honda is not. But I liked the balance and handling of the vehicle.”

The drivers praised the Foreman's engine braking and low-end torque with a load.

VERDICT

Most drivers said they wouldn't hesitate to buy a Honda, especially with the power steering. They considered it a real workhorse with low maintenance. But many didn't care for the manual transmission and its cumbersome three-step reverse process, and low ground clearance.